Solar energy heating uses the sun's radiation to provide solar thermal energy for solar hot water, solar space heating, and solar pool heaters. A solar heating system saves energy, reduces utility costs, and produces clean energy. Solar heating systems have improveded dramatically, they are now attractive options in the home or business. To encourage more Americans to benefit from these systems, the U.S. Energy Policy Act implemented a 30% tax credit for consumers who install solar water heating systems.
To be eligible for this tax credit, the systems must be certified by the Department of Energy's non-profit partner, the Solar Rating & Certification Corporation (SRCC). Residents of Florida and Hawaii are permitted to utilize state certification programs.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is researching even more cost-effective solar heating systems and to also to improve the durability of system materials. This research is bringing these systems to average consumers and helping reduce their utility bills. The ultimate goal is that the nation reduce its consumption of fossil fuels.

Solar heat can be used for solar water heating, solar space heating in buildings, and solar pool heaters. Solar water heaters and solar space heaters are constructed of solar collectors, and all systems have some kind of storage, except solar pool heaters and some industrial systems that use energy "immediately." The systems collect the sun's energy to heat air or a fluid. The air or fluid then transfers solar heat directly to a building, water, or pool.

The most common use for solar energy in the United States today, is to heat swimming pools. Solar pool-heating systems increase an unheated pool's water temperature by 10 degrees or more, thereby extending the swimming season for months. Solar system prices range from $2,500 to $5,000 or more, depending on the size of your pool and other conditions, such as shading from nearby trees and buildings and even how close the pool is to the ocean. When solar systems replace a conventional gas or electric swimming pool heater, the initial investment can usually be recovered in about three years or less, due to lowered utility bills.

Conventional electric or gas water heating systems are actually still necessary as a secutrity supplement to a solar water heating system, because seasonally, sunlight can be diminished. But, because solar water heaters are designed provide hot water directly to the tank of a gas or electric water heater, they tremendously reduce the need for water heating from conventional fuels. This reduces your gas or electric bill, dramatically. Solar water heaters can provide up to 80% of a home's annual water-heating needs.